Ride share apps like Uber and Lyft have made life easier for millions of Americans, who for a variety of reasons, choose or need to use a car service to get around.
Ride shares are convenient in areas where it’s not easy to get a taxi, cities without widespread public transportation and metro areas where the fare for an Uber or Lyft may be cheaper than a traditional cab.
However, the uncertainties of life apply to ride shares too – accidents happen. If you’re injured as a result of an Uber accident or a Lyft accident, Stewart & Stewart Attorneys is here to help.
Big Questions: Who’s Liable and Who Pays?
As with any driver working for a company, accidents involving Lyft or Uber drivers can be complex. If you do get into an accident while using one of these services, you should enlist the help of a qualified attorney to help with your claim. This is important whether you are a passenger that gets injured in an accident involving a ride share program or if your vehicle is in a collision with an Uber or Lyft driver.
For injury liability, the driver’s personal insurance will be the first place to go, but most personal insurance policies have provisions in them that exempt business use. Those companies won’t pay out for damages and injuries to passengers while the insured is on the clock even though the vehicle is not part of a fleet owned by Uber or Lyft.
The good news is that Lyft and Uber both carry third-party insurance that provides up to $1 million per accident for personal injuries and property damage. But this won’t kick in until all avenues regarding the driver’s personal auto insurance plan have been exhausted.
If another driver is at fault, there are two ways you can be protected.
First, as in any auto accident where the other party is at fault, you would seek damages from that person, either through his insurance carrier or a personal injury lawsuit.
If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover your injuries or is unknown (in a hit-and-run accident, for example), Uber and Lyft also carry uninsured/underinsured coverage. Similar to ride share companies’ third-party insurance, this policy also provides up to $1 million per accident.
In unique cases (such as when damages total more than $1 million), lawsuits against Lyft and Uber themselves can be filed, but this is a tricky avenue to pursue because ride share drivers are independent contractors; therefore, the legal responsibility of the company isn’t as cut-and-dry as it would be if drivers were employees with a commercial driver’s license.
If You’re a Driver: Document, Document, Document
It’s important to note that these $1 million policies are also in place to protect Lyft and Uber drivers and their property.
If you’re driving for a ride share and you’re involved in an accident, be sure to document everything so you’re protected as much as you possibly can be. Take photos of damage, get license plate and contact information of the other driver(s) and call your insurance. Lyft and Uber also have emergency hotlines that you can call in case of an accident.
Having the necessary documentation will get you back on the road faster, because Uber doesn’t allow drivers to pick up passengers while they investigate to determine fault in an accident. If your vehicle is damaged, you may not be able to work again until Uber inspects your vehicle and finds it satisfactory to pick up passengers again.
Uber and Lyft Accidents are Complex
If you have been injured or a loved one has died due to a crash involving a ride share driver, you deserve to be compensated. At Stewart & Stewart, we know what it takes to find the responsible parties and get our clients the money they deserve. We will work hard to get that for you. For more information, give your Indianapolis auto accident lawyer a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.